If you’ve read the Sports are from Venus Mock Drafts, you know that I place a high premium on team needs in the draft. These grades will reflect how well I think each team has done in addressing their weak spots. So…
Here’e the 2020 AFC West Draft Report
1st Round: 15 Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
2nd Round: 46 K.J. Hamler, WR, Penn State
3rd Round: 77 Michael Ojemudia, CB, Iowa
3rd Round: 83 Lloyd Cushenberry, C, LSU
3rd Round: 95 McTelvin Agim, DL, Arkansas
Lots of picks here, but did Denver get better?
The short answer is probably “yes”.
At the very least, this draft is a super clear indication of what Denver sees as the path forward, and that’s a full-scale buy-in for Drew Lock to be the quarterback of the future. Two things are needed help quarterbacks get better: weapons and protection. Denver spent three picks in the first three rounds getting those two things. Jerry Jeudy was considered one of the top two receivers in the draft, so Denver got a gift when he was still on the board at 15. K.J. Hamler isn’t as refined a Jeudy, but he’s a speedy option that will require defenses pay attention.
Cushenberry is a very solid option to help protect Lock to bring in with a third-round pick. The defensive pieces are both nice as well. You probably didn’t hear a lot about the Arkansas defense last year (it was terrible), but Agim wasn’t.
Grade: B. All in all, there’s a lot to like here for Denver. When you’re in the division with the champs, you need to get better to even stand a chance. The Broncos did.
Kansas City Chiefs
1st Round: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU
2nd Round: Willie Gay, LB, Mississippi State
3rd Round: Lucas Niang, OL, TCU
Draft a running back in the first round?
Second round linebacker with off the field question marks?
Third round offensive tackle with injury issues?
I mean, they’re the champs. Who am I to judge?
Obviously, this isn’t about need. The Chiefs don’t NEED anything. But I question spending a first round pick on a running back here, even if I do like Edwards-Helaire. Linebacker Willie Gay is talented but had academic issues and was suspended by the NCAA due to violations involving his tutor. Apparently, he also got into a fight with his quarterback in 2018. Imagine the blowback if this dude throws a right hook at Mahomes. Yikes. Lastly, Niang missed a big chunk of his senior year after hip surgery, so there’s not even a lot to evaluate from 2019. Serious question marks here.
Grade: C+. I’m giving Kansas City the benefit of the doubt here.
Las Angeles Chargers
1st Round: 6 Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
1st Round: 23 Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
Sometimes a draft can boil down to a simple question. For the Chargers, it’s this: Is Justin Herbert the quarterback of the future for Los Angeles. If yes, it’s a win. If not, yikes. I’m not sure I loved trading up to get a linebacker, even if Murray is a strong addition to a defense that needed some thumpers last season. Only time will tell, but I’ll grade it anyway.
Grade: B. Here’s why. I think that Miami did Los Angeles a favor by taking Tua. If I had to gamble on who will be a better quarterback in the NFL during the 2025 season, I’d be comfortable betting on Herbert every single time.
Las Vegas Raiders
1st Round: 12 Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
1st Round: 19 Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
3rd Round: 80 Lynn Bowden Jr., WR, Kentucky
3rd Round: 81 Bryan Edwards, WR, South Carolina
3rd Round: 100 Tanner Muse, S, Clemson
Say what you want about Oakland (they rely too much on speed when evaluating draft picks), but these guys had a plan and they executed it. Five picks in the first three rounds and they spent them all on wideouts and the secondary. Henry Ruggs III wasn’t supposed to be the first wide receiver off the board, because he wasn’t even the primary option at Alabama, but here we are. He has one trait that helped him leapfrog over teammate Jerry Jeudy to get picked at number twelve.
Guess what it was…speed.
Add that to back-to-back receiver picks in the third round and Las Vegas is reloaded. As for the secondary, the pick of Arnette is probably a glimpse into what the Raiders want to do defensively, he’s best suited for zone schemes, so I expect we’ll see a lot more of that from Las Vegas next season.
Grade: C+. I like the idea of Ruggs becoming Tyreek Hill 2.0 for the Raiders. Who doesn’t want a speedster to run through defenses like a knife through hot butter? Beyond that I have concerns. I mean, this was a seven-win team with a point differential of -106 last year. Translation: they were lucky to win those seven games in 2019. Surely, they have more needs than just wide receiver and the secondary, right?
For more thoughts and opinions from Tom, check out his author page.
Image Source: USA Today